Whether you’re looking for a fun afternoon outdoors or a relaxing weekend of camping, getting outside and enjoying nature is a rejuvenating pastime. Visiting local parks is an inexpensive way to see local wildlife and flora, enjoy a hike or bike ride, learn about local history, and view natural wonders. Parks also provide the opportunity to experience outdoor activities, like fishing or canoeing, and participate in educational programs, like special classes or activities for kids. Arlington Heights has so many amazing parks it can be hard to decide which to visit first. Here are some parks you might enjoy exploring.
Spring Valley Nature Sanctuary
The Spring Valley Nature Sanctuary boasts 135 acres of wildlands like marshes, forests, fields, and streams. This outdoor living museum lets visitors learn about local history and nature by observing and exploring their surroundings. You can engage in activities like bird watching, handicapped-accessible hiking, photography, walking, relaxing, and learning. There is an 1880s rural German living history farm where you can participate in seasonal chores, activities, and programs. The nature and visitor center has a natural history museum with interactive exhibits, children’s activities, programs, and a library.
The Spring Valley Nature Sanctuary is located at 1111 East Schaumburg Road, in Schaumburg, southwest of Arlington Heights. The sanctuary is open seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and the nature center and visitor center are open Wednesday through Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is free. You can contact the Spring Valley Nature Center at 847-985-2102.
Ned Brown Forest Preserve
The Ned Brown Forest Preserve, also known as Busse Woods, is a diverse 3,558 acre forest preserve with multiple location entrances and dozens of things to do. The nature center is an excellent way to discover the natural diversity of plants and animals in the local region, attend an educational program, or volunteer for ecological stewardship workdays. Visit the 17-acre enclosed elk pasture that has been the home to a herd of elk from the Yellowstone National Park since 1925. Other activities include a wide variety of trails, fishing on the Busse Reservoir, boat rentals, and seasonal skiing and snowmobiling.
The Ned Brown Forest Preserve is located just south of Arlington Heights in Elk Grove Village. The preserve is open seven days a week from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and the nature center is open seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is free. You can contact the Ned Brown Forest Preserve at 800-870-3666.
Crabtree Nature Center
The Crabtree Nature Center has indoor activities at the Crabtree Nature Center exhibit building and outdoor activities around the 1,000-acre rolling landscape. Visit the exhibit building to discover local wildlife displays and learn about the natural history of the area. You can also participate in fun events, educational programs, hybrid learning, and field trips. Outside the exhibit building, you’ll find three unpaved, connected trails for walking or hiking that weave through prairies, woodlands, and wetlands. The Crabtree Nature Center is a hotspot for bird watching since it’s a resting place along the migratory bird pathways.
The Crabtree Nature Center is located at 3 Stover Road, in Barrington Hills, west of Arlington Heights. The nature center is closed on Fridays but opens six days a week, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the warmer months of March through October, and from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. during the cooler months of November through February. Admission is free. You can contact the Crabtree Nature Center at 847-381-6592.
Ryerson Woods Forest Preserve
The Ryerson Woods Forest Preserve is 565 acres of exceptional natural beauty. This conservation area is unique because over half the land is ecologically valuable and is guarded either by special protection rules or recognized as a cultural history district by the National Register of Historic Places. The welcome center has a wide variety of exhibits, summer camps, public programs, field trips, and fun events. There is a small farm area where you can see farm animals like chickens, goats, sheep, and butterflies. The 6.5 miles of trails are great for hiking, or cross-country skiing in the winter, with scenic views and historic buildings.
The Ryerson Woods Forest Preserve is located at 21950 North Riverwoods Road, in Riverwoods, north of Arlington Heights. The preserve is open seven days a week from 6:00 a.m. to sunset, and the welcome center is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is free. You can contact the Ned Brown Forest Preserve at 847-367-6640.
River Trail Nature Center
The River Trail Nature Center has onsite nature educators, free exhibits, and many walking trails. The onsite educators are happy to tell you stories about the animals, plants, and landscapes surrounding the Des Plaines River. In addition to the free exhibits, the nature center educators offer fun and educational programs like learning how to make maple syrup or meeting an owl. The nature center has both outdoor and indoor play areas for kids, and guided hikes for all ages. There are three unpaved walking trails that follow along the Des Plaines River and meander through over a dozen forest preserves.
The River Trail Nature Center is located at 3120 Milwaukee Avenue, in Northbrook, east of Arlington Heights. The River Trail Park is open seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the warmer months of March through October, and from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. during the cooler months of November through February. The nature center is closed on Fridays but is open the rest of the week from 9:00 a.m. until the park closes. Admission is free. You can contact the River Trail Nature Center at 847-824-8360.
Here at NeuroHealth in Arlington Heights, we know the importance of spending time in nature. After all, spending time outdoors can improve your mood, self-esteem, and overall mental health. We’d love to know about your favorite parks and outdoor activities, and how they make you feel! Contact us here at NeruoHealth, we’d love to chat with you and add your favorite parks to our list.